Enterprise Software

The perfect system administrator's toolkit: The Right Tools for the Job?

RJ11 cable

RJ11 cable?!?! Well, you never know when you boss might need help with his phone as well. Useful for connecting an analog modem to a wall socket as well. As you might have noticed from the logo, I received mine as a souvenir from them.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

33 comments
bitboss1
bitboss1

You forgot a cable ID set (with a fistful of adapters) for the big spaghetti jobs with a dearth of labelling (ie where the 'ell does that go!!!). Cheers....

r_j_jacobsen
r_j_jacobsen

I work on large servers and one thing I have in my bag is a 50ft phone cord and an extender. It never fails that the server I need to work on is farther away from the phone than the phone's cord. Let me also recommend a small penlight such as a Maglite single AAA cell flashlight - it's a wonderful tool when working inside a dark server cabinet. If you ever need to pull out cards and adapters out of a machine, a few antistatic bags to protect them is a lightweight addition to the bag.

duval.costa
duval.costa

Vey, very handy, as well as amusing at the same time. Had never really thought of some some of these things. Krgrds, dac

psantabarbara
psantabarbara

RJ-45 Extenders also work great for keeping the clips on the RJ-45 ends from breaking/bending while in your bag. I like to coil my extra path cords and use the extender to connect the ends together, thus keeping the ends safe from catching other things in my bag and breaking the clips.

ben.dunkley
ben.dunkley

The USB serial adapters can be a little bit unreliable, some will work with some serial devices and not others, and then others will only work with a different selection of serial devices. A PC Card or Express Card serial is a much better choice - although costs ~?60 instead of ~?10-?15.

tetread_99
tetread_99

I use a BartPE bootable 120 GB USB drive with Ghost installed, Firefox browser, file compression utility, linux XP password cracker, Easy data recovery Pro, A43 file manager and network support as well. So far only one drive I could not recover data from and it was because drive would not spin up.

wyattbest
wyattbest

I have to hand it to you, that's a great list, although it is a bit more "corporate" than mine. I only have an RF mouse, the exact same wrist strap (gotta love Rosewill and Newegg), cable ties, IDE-to-USB adapter, card reader, LAN cables and that coupler, multimeter, screwdrivers and or course a flashdrive and boot disks (mine is a plain, old Cruzer Micro).

stan_nospam
stan_nospam

Add a power supply tester; may come in handy for non-boot problems. Every toolkit should have a small flashlight. Also, don't neglect your software diagnostic programs - disk scan, memory test, etc. Include virus and spyware detection software for good measure. Sorry, just 20 items in your bag will only leave you wishing you had brought the "right" tool!

thailmore
thailmore

I inherited a cable tie tensioner from my predecessor. This thing is great if you're rerunning the cabling for an entire office to replace 15 unmanaged switches run in series with a nice, neat, centralized rack-mounted set of Cisco switches. This tool has variable tension levels, and will tighten and clip the cable tie off flush with the edge of the strap in one motion. Plus, it usually impresses the creators of your carbon-based errors.

janet.cook
janet.cook

Such useful photos!!! Can I have permission to use these to make a visual quiz/matching activity for my CCNA prep students at quia.com?

mdhealy
mdhealy

I have a couple of those IDE/SATA to USB dongles myself and they are great tools, as are many items on the list. I would add a bootable Linux LiveCD such as Knoppix or Puppy Linux. If a system won't boot, and repairs will take some time, a LiveCD is often the quickest way to grab urgently-needed data files and put them on a USB keydrive for the user to access on a spare computer while the broken one is fixed.

kybirdfan
kybirdfan

Note pad and pen and marker felt tip

kbruster2
kbruster2

I actualy picked this up at a model train show. Its a set of 26 minuture tools, one was very usefull in removing the screws from com/lpt ports, and minuture wrench for tight places. It was well worth the $10 it cost me just for those two items.

juan.sifuentes
juan.sifuentes

Outstanding toolkit. I have to admit that I may need to get on of those tool kits myself, I only have a screwdriver set and a mutlimeter.

Geekenstein
Geekenstein

Can you give us a Brand/Model or even a link?

jeff
jeff

I make a lot of house calls. Include power supply tester, flashlight, wireless hot spot finder, spare batteries, spare power supply, mice, keyboards, even a laptop computer!

joreily
joreily

Hello, I bought a used computer at an estate sale. The people selling the estate had no idea what the password is. It is runs XP. I have not been successful in interrupting the boot to learn anything how the computer is made. It appears to be a custom built computer because there is no brand name on the box. What do I need to do to get into XP? Can you help? Barbara

kevin.stafferton
kevin.stafferton

I'm more of a software guy but I build and maintain my own PCs. The network port on my main Windows XP PC has gone dead on me a couple of time and nothing I did would bring it back, until I booted from from Linux Live CD. I Make sure I always have one available now.

Penguin_me
Penguin_me

These are both Bootable CD/DVDs 1) Ophcrack ( http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/ )- essential if you've forgotten the password to that old machine that someone desperately needs access to and that was never attached to AD - it happened to me recently and this saved my skin. 2) Knoppix ( http://www.knoppix.org/ ) - useful bootable CD for repairing fs's etc.

zlitocook
zlitocook

can be great but in some cases you need to boot to a CD/DVD to fix problems first. And a boot CD like Barts PE is great but if you do not make a new one every time a new problem comes out it will not help. I use a USB device with an eight gig compacity and load things like AVG, Window washer, CCleaner, Spybot and others. I never trust what is on a computer, I will back it up and to the USB device and format the drive. Then install the O/S, I would like the person that I am working with to be sure all the bad stuff is gone.

robo_dev
robo_dev

There has to be at least one MacGyver fan here....

joshi_at
joshi_at

hey, i always have a bootable linux-cd with me (as mentioned by many before). additionally, i also have a BartPE livecd with most of the tools i need on it (incl. up2date network and chipset/sata drivers). dban (secure hard drive wiping is also in my pocket. a 32gb usb pen drive, and a changeable set of screwdrivers (just to switch between torx and others) PoE-tester (build for my keychain).... br johannes

ProfessorCurt
ProfessorCurt

Duct Tape - The handyman's secret weapon. I keep a roll in my desk with my other tools. Are you thinking of MacGyver or Red Green?? "Remember, if the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy."

Infinity306
Infinity306

A Swiss Army Knife, a hairpin and a stick of gum.

CG IT
CG IT

throw in some C4, extra P90 clips, a Zat, M1911 and oh a Jaffa Stick... What's in my kit not listed? 110 punchdown tool 66 punchdown tool, ya never know when you gotta put a cable into the patch panel. A 25 ft "fish". Can't even imagine going onsite with out the thing. LED flashlight for under tables, a Cisco console cable, the laptop with a TFTP server that I know works for uploading images. my cell phone to usb cable for internet connection. wire cutters for clipping the end off of cable ties. Ever go into someplace where the installed didn't clip the ends? battery powered screw driver. Can't stand using the old hand powered method. Takes to long. especially if your the only one putting in a new router or switch in the rack. Tough to hold the router or switch AND screw the screw in.

Infinity306
Infinity306

Bartpe build with lots of Utilities included, updated every couple of months, and you can update the programs on the disc to the latest definitions and such when you build it..much easier then Bartpe alone IMHO ubcd4win.com

mailpowys
mailpowys

BartPE, for a clean boot up with plugins to scan & recover files over network. Acronis or Driveimage to create disk image backups before attempting tricky data recovery / repairs. Advanced Windows Care - even the freeware version cleans up most Spyware, Registry & startup problems & almost always improves system perfomance. (I have the registered version but it's limited to 3 PC's) Lavasofts AdAware SE Personal or CCleaner for spyware. Lastly a litte known but very handy CD/DVD/USB Mem Stick utility by Heise for updating Win 2K/XP & now Vista PC's offline with critical updates/ServicePacks before connecting to the net. http://www.heise-online.co.uk/security/Do-it-yourself-Service-Pack--/features/80682/0